A Dynamic Duo: How to Work with Two Therapists
Many people have benefited from receiving concurrent mental health services from two therapists. Each therapist may provide a different service such as individual therapy, couples therapy, or group therapy. For example, you might see one therapist for individual therapy and another therapist for couples therapy. You could also work with two therapists who provide the same service but vastly different focuses and/or interventions, such as Financial Therapy or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). For example, you could see one therapist for individual therapy that provides financial therapy and another therapist for individual therapy that provides EMDR.
Working with two therapists can be tricky at times. Here are a few things to keep in mind when working with two therapists.
Ask your therapists to communicate with each other. If you work with two therapists it’s in your best interest that they communicate with each other. This coordination helps your therapists plan your treatment and diminish any confusion or harm that could occur when working with two professionals at the same time. You will need to sign a release before any type of communication can occur. A release is a document provided by your therapists that allows them to communicate with others about your treatment. Without a release, your therapists cannot communicate with anyone about you or even acknowledge your existence.
When asking your therapists to communicate with each other you should be specific about what you’d like them to discuss. You might want one therapist whom you’ve been working with for a while to discuss your progress, obstacles in treatment, complicated family dynamic, trauma history, etc. You might also want your therapists to coordinate with each other in order to verify that they are not providing the same service and/or interventions. If there is anything that you do not want a therapist to discuss you should make it known when signing a release.
Find out how much therapy will cost. Picture this: you’re working with two therapists and you’re making great progress. However, you have to stop seeing one or both therapists because you didn’t realize the cost and cannot afford to continue treatment. So, it’s important to determine your out-of-pocket cost at the start of treatment. Will your insurance cover multiple therapeutic services? For example, you might attend couples and individual therapy weekly. Will your insurance pay for the same therapeutic service provided by two different therapists? For example, you may attend individual therapy focused on financial therapy weekly and individual therapy focused on EMDR weekly. If you’re planning to use insurance benefits you should contact your insurance company to verify that they will cover services. In addition, even if services are covered by insurance, copays and co-insurance can add up quickly. Make sure that you know what your contribution is before you consider working with two therapists.
Discuss conflicts. One therapist might suggest one thing and another might suggest the opposite. This can occur when working with two therapists whose interventions and/or services overlap. Therapists can prevent this with good treatment planning and communication– but at times it sill occurs. If you notice any contradictions, it’s best to discuss them openly with your therapists. For example, you could say, “You’re telling me to use coping skills when I feel anxious but my other therapist says to notice and accept anxiety. I’m confused about what to do.” This can provide you with an opportunity to get clarification and, if necessary, will allow your therapists to increase their coordinate with each other in order to support your treatment.
Many clients have benefited from working with two therapists. If you feel you could benefit from working with another therapist, talk to your current therapist about further treatment options.
Symmetry Counseling provides all of the services and interventions mentioned in this blog. If you could benefit from any of these services or interventions contact Symmetry Counseling today to schedule an appointment.
Written by Kara Thompson-Miller, Licensed Clinical Social Worker: January 2023 “Why is it so hard to like my body?”: A unassumingly complex question that has been asked by many clients in many different variations, but one that, nonetheless, tends…Read More
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